India plans to train 30,000 youth under India-Japan Specified Skilled Workers programme

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday expressed “great satisfaction” over signing of an agreement with Japan on Specified Skilled Workers, stating skill development has been an important aspect of Special Strategic and Global Partnership between New Delhi and Tokyo.

Listing several steps taken in the last few years for skilling and training of youth in India, he said in 2016, New Delhi signed the “Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Programme” agreement for training 30,000 persons over 10 years with Japanese style manufacturing skills and practices.

“Subsequently, Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing (JIM) and Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in colleges across India have been established. I am told that as of date, 13 JIMs and 5 JECs are already operational,” Foreign Secretary Shringla said in his remarks at the signing ceremony of MoC on Specified Skilled Workers with Japan.

“We would want to rapidly expand the number of youth skilled by this programme to reach the target of 30,000,” the Foreign Secretary added.

“In 2017, we also signed the “Technical Intern Training Programme” agreement. This agreement has enabled Indian youth to access internships in Japan in diverse industry sectors. I am informed that around 200 interns have been placed in Japan so far,” the Foreign Secretary said.

In this context, he said, this MoC on Specified Skilled Workers marks a further important step in this direction. “I am sure that this agreement will not only aid in the movement of skilled Indians to Japan to meet the requirements of the Japanese market, but will also enable greater interaction between our peoples and strengthen people-to-people ties,” Foreign Secretary Shringla said.

“I would like to mention here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed high priority on quickly operationalizing this MoC. I am also informed that Japanese Prime Minister Suga, when he was Chief Cabinet Secretary, was one of the prime movers of the SSW programme to address the needs of Japan’s skilled labour market. With an early operationalization of this MoC, both our countries can synergize our strengths and have mutually beneficial outcomes,” he said.

“I may mention here that in the wake of the COVID crisis, special efforts have been made to tap the skills of workers returning from countries abroad,” the Foreign Secretary added.

In this endeavour, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs have jointly launched the SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) initiative as a skill mapping exercise of citizens returning under the Vande Bharat Mission.

As on September 30, 2020, around 30,000 citizens had registered for the SWADES Skill Card. Details from the database are being shared with companies for suitable placement opportunities in the country to facilitate rehabilitation of the workers.

“In the implementation of the SSW, the Indian side looks forward to working closely with the Japanese side to ensure that we can meet our objectives smoothly and quickly. In this context, one of the areas that we may need to focus on would be the expansion of Japanese language training in India,” he said.

“Thanks to our joint efforts, there has been an increase in such training but the potential to increase it significantly exists. In this regard, we look forward to support from the Japanese side. I would request Ambassador Suzuki to keep this aspect in mind,” the Foreign Secretary said.